Hangers, hangers, hangers!

Having an organized closet can improve the life of your clothing, and quality hangers can help keep your clothes in their best shape. Many closets have mismatched hangers that have been collected over the years: A wire hanger there, a thick plastic one here, and wooden one there. Having the same hangers keeps any closet that much more uniform, which appeals to many people, but having the best type of hanger for your needs can be important, too. So, what type of hanger does one choose? If you are to overhaul your closet, and your out-of-control hanger collection, which hanger is the best?

I’m sure our readers have many differing opinions on what the best hanger is, but I’ll highlight a few of my favorite options:

Ultra Slim Velvet Hangers: These thin hangers claim to save up to 50% of your closet space.

Vertical Hangers: If you want to keep your hangers, you can go this route and store five garments in the space for one.

Classic Plastic: My closet is currently filled with these fat things. They don’t stretch out my clothing, but I’m not too thrilled about them because they don’t always hold very heavy clothing such as winter coats.

Wooden: These are probably more useful for a coat closet or suit storage.

When it comes to those wire hangers, round them up and drop them off at your dry cleaner’s the next time you’re running errands. Dry cleaners almost always accept used wire hangers. However, you may want to keep one in case you need to unfold it to fish the Lego out of the furnace vent.


This post has been updated since its original publication in 2008.

37 Comments for “Hangers, hangers, hangers!”

  1. posted by James E. Robinson, III on

    +1 Classic Plastic – yes, they do take-up room…but i use that as my cue to clean-out.

  2. posted by Rue on

    I love the look of plastic hangers, so that’s all I have in my closet. Except for my husband’s suits, which are on nice suit hangers. I’d like to get some nice wooden suit hangers for those, because they’re so much prettier than the plastic ones you get in the store.

  3. posted by Sue on

    Different garments require different hangers. My regular clothes are on thick plastic hangers, my delicates are on satin covered padded hangers, and skirts and slacks are on the clamp hangers. I guess they are “uniform” within the hanger type.

    However, my shirts are hung in color order: white-yellow-pink-red-green-blue-black. (Seems anal to some, but makes getting dressing in the AM a breeze!)

  4. posted by Deb on

    I color code my clothes as well and like the plastic hangers. I like all white hangers.

    Any thoughts on skirt hangers? I dislike the ones that have pinch-type clamps on skinny wire cross bars. They clog up the works as they get tangled. I like the kind that have a sliding clip that encloses the fabric.

    This thread brings out the Joan Crawford in me…

  5. posted by Stan on

    My closet has all wooden hangers. It looks fantastic and I value each piece of clothing I own so much more. By purchasing $50 of nice hangers, I feel like I own all designer clothing because my closet looks so good.

  6. posted by Gillian on

    I wish they’d offer wide shouldered hangars for the wider clothes, men’s suits in particular, but broad-shouldered people in general need wider hangars to keep their clothes looking good.

  7. posted by PJ on

    This is a CONSTANT problem for me — my closet is a mess!

    Beyond just deciding the right hangers to use, what is the proper way to hang various items of clothing? For example, I currently use hangers with clips for both pants and skirts however I have heard it is better to fold your pants over and hang them instead. And what about suits?

    Any insight on this would be greatly appreciated!

  8. posted by Michele on

    I scavenge wooden hangers whenever I can, I mostly use “classic plastic” hangers, I keep my suits on the combo plastic hangers, and I’ve banished wire hangers altogether.

    It’s not too Mommie Dearest at all to get rid of wire hangers — I’ve actually gotten rust stains on clothing from using them!

  9. posted by Mac on


    Here’s one site that offers extra wide hangers.

    I’m sure there are many others.

  10. posted by Katie on

    Also, wire hangers are being integrated into some cities’ recycling programs–I know they are recyclable in LA.

  11. posted by WineWench on

    I LOVE the Ultra Slim Black Flocked Hangers from Bed Bath & Beyond — I received these for Christmas last year (yes, they were on my wish list!). They look great, hold the clothes on since the flocking is rough enough to keep clothes from sliding, and they take up hardly any space. They come in other colors as well (ivory, etc) in case you don’t like black. They make your closet look like a designer boutique! Such a huge upgrade from plastic. I wish they made skirt hangers too.

  12. posted by Shanel Yang on

    I love the other plastic hangers that department stores usually leave your hanging clothes on when you purchase them. I can even hang my lighter sweaters on them without stretching them, plus they’re free! For “How to Organize Your Closet in 5 Simple Steps” see http://shanelyang.com/2008/04/.....ple-steps/

  13. posted by Eric Vonk on

    I use all wooden hangers. These take up more room, but by doing that it forces me to get rid of the clothes I no longer wear or need and keeps my closet looking much neater.

  14. posted by KC Debi on

    My husband has taught our 5YO daughter to say

  15. posted by Ian Parker on

    My girlfriend prefers those plastic abominations, but I stick with the classic wooden hangers. I suppose it may be a male/female issue as well. The plastic hangers seem to be less likely to stretch out her clothing, while the wooden hangers are more suited to my dress shirts, slacks, suits and coats.

    The plastic hangers are definitely the affordable option and really don’t take up more space than the wooden hangers as they are slightly thinner. The ultra slim hangers look neat though. I had not seen those before so I think I’ll give a pack of those a try.

  16. posted by Splomo on

    Our practical, scalable, and inexpensive solution:
    White plastic tubular hangers hold all of my clothes and my husband’s shirts. I don’t worry about them damaging my clothes (or anyone in the house, if someone decides to pretend to be a majorette …)
    Child-sized plastic hangers, also white, hold the little ones’ clothes.
    Multi-packs of skirt clips are purchased as needed. (Side note: the ones from [email protected]@rt are slightly less likely to misfire, sproing open, and fling plastic and metal components to the unreachable back of the closet.)
    Very inexpensive wooden hangers from IKEA hold Dad’s trousers because they are too heavy for plastic. ($3.95 for 8!)
    Now considering this appealing type of chrome slacks hangers that would be allow him to grab-and-go while taking up less space than wood.
    The hall coat closet uses good quality wooden hangers (smooth, strong, and pretty).
    A twist-to tighten shower rod above the washing machine stores empty hangers, sorted by type.

  17. posted by infmom on

    I really don’t like plastic hangers. They look flimsy and cheap no matter how much you spend on them. I’m not crazy about the wire ones, either, but after 35+ years we have so many of them in our closet (we have to share one, that’s one of the few down sides to owning a vintage house) that replacing them all with something else would cost a bundle.

    We have only wooden hangers in the coat closet, except for the big wide-shouldered plastic one that holds my motorcycle jacket.

    We recently replaced all our old, lackadasical skirt and pants hangers with nice new ones from the Container Store, so at least we are making some progress.

  18. posted by Sara at On Simplicity on

    I’m a convert to all white plastic hangers (heavier duty for pants, though). I used to think having different colored hangers added “excitement” to my closet. (Tells you how boring my life must’ve been, right?) At this point, it just adds to the visual clutter. I’m sloooowly moving towards all white, but can’t quite talk myself into spending the extra cash on something so unnecessary.

  19. posted by Samir on

    I disagree with the statement that wooden hangars are good for the coat closet or suit storage. I’d venture to say they’re good for EVERYTHING.

    As people have mentioned, the look of uniform wood hangars is awesome, and as Stan said, it makes me feel like my clothes are much more expensive and designer than they actually are. I always thought wooden hangars would be expensive, but you can get 30 of them for like $20 bucks. As Stan said, $50 and you’ve got a total makeover.

    Freecycle your old ones 🙂

  20. posted by mamabigdog on

    We just bought the black flocked hangars from BB&B about a month ago, and it was a great choice. No more blouses sliding off the hangar, no more poky shoulders from too-narrow hangars. These things are great, and I would recommend them to anyone. We previously had all plastic hangars, but oftentimes certain items of heavy clothing, like jeans, cords, jackets, etc., would bend and break them. We have the heavy-duty wooden hangars in the coat closet downstairs, but they take up too much room for regular clothes. We used to save the foam wrap that comes on dry cleaner wire hangars to keep things from sliding off the plastic hangars, but they rip and tear really easy. The black flocked hangars are the perfect hangar!

  21. posted by Courtney on

    I dislike the vertical hangers–it’s too hard to find the piece of clothing I want when it has not only horizontal position somewhere in the closet, but vertical position down the hanger, too. One dimension is enough for my closet organization!

    I will try the black flocked hangers, though–they look like they’ll help our closet immensely. I love hanging up my jeans, but I don’t like the duct tape reinforced white plastic hangers I’ve been using!

  22. posted by AEL on

    I’ve been buying a type of wooden hanger that I’ve only seen at Target (can’t find it on the website). They have small sections of no-slip material embedded into each side, which works great for keeping my wide-necked shirts and jackets on. I prefer the wooden hangars over plastic or flocked because the width keeps creases from forming in the shoulders and also ensures that I don’t try to pack my clothes so close together that I have trouble finding what I want. The dark wood of the hangers also looks nice against the dark wood of my wardrobes, and makes the closet look classier to me.

  23. posted by Michelle on

    My husband and I recently moved to a small house with a single, teensy closet. So we’ve been using these tiered blouse and slacks hangers: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.co.....#038;RN=50

    I especially like this style for skirts and strapless dresses: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.co.....#038;RN=50

    That combo has made it possible for me to get almost all of our clothes into our closet without making it cramped.

    My preference, some day when I have a walk-in closet, will be to have everything on matching wooden hangars like these: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.co.....0&

  24. posted by Marjorie on

    I feel like clothes are just another form of clutter so I don’t have a very good attitude about paying a lot of money for nice clothes that would need to be kept in shape with an expensive hanger. I am a neat/clutter free person however I live with a messy person so for us the plastic hangers work just fine. I hang up all his clothes by type (polos, t-shirts, collard shirts, pants) however mine are done by color – why I don’t know.

  25. posted by Ellen M on

    I think that worrying about the type of hangers you have, and whether they all look the same, is taking the biz of uncluttering a bit far. If the clothes are off the floor, and on a hanger, you’re good to go.

    In the interest of the environment, reduce/reuse/recycle, AND save a buck! We should take pride in conservation of all materials (plastic, wood, and metal), and we only be concerned about purchasing new hangers when we run out of hangers already on hand.

  26. posted by Meg on

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these hangers: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obi.....tterer-20/

    Almost all my clothes are on those stackable friction hangers (or similar stacking hangers like for skirts). I have the pole in my closet extra high, so I can easily stack half a dozen items from the top hanger. Not only can I pack a lot of clothes in the space, it’s easier to organize them by color that way.

  27. posted by Meg on

    P.S. I’ve tried the hanger ‘trees’ that are like stackable hangers but fused together. They were the biggest pain in the butt ever.

  28. posted by Pat on

    I use the plastic hangers because I have a large closet – it’s fairly empty because I’ve purged! I have a Huge pet peeve. My slacks get dusty – the part that goes over the hanger. I’ve tried putting the cleaner paper shoulder cover things over them but they still get dusty. Bugs me! I’m going to invent something and don’t say those plastic covers – they are gross!

  29. posted by Sara on

    About six months ago I did a closet overhaul, getting rid of my assorted plastic hangers and converting almost my whole closet to those “flocked” ones from BB&B (although mine are tan). They looks gorgeous and you can fit lots more of them on the rack. I still use the “multi” hangers for skirts and dress pants (the kind with 5 sets of clips each). They’re ugly but I haven’t found a better option. I also have two sets of “sweater shelves” that hang in the closet (one for me and one for my husband).

    Oh, and FYI – I got $5 on craigslist for the big bag of old plastic hangers.

  30. posted by gypsypacker on

    I use recycled clip hangers for almost everything except coats. Bell’s Outlets had some interesting tie hangers with rounded hooks that I use for panties.
    I have decorative hook racks hanging off a closet shelf for nightgowns and robes, and a set of deer antlers near the bed to keep my robe off the floor.
    I use vintage/antique dovetailed wooden packing boxes (the kind with burnt-on fancy brand names) for such items as sweats, winter underwear, and socks.

    Space bags hold off-season clothes. These almost always start sucking air somewhere, sometime so I pack them in blue plastic totes to keep them compacted.

    I’m learning to think of clothes as clutter, but I still have evening wear I wear every several years that is just too nice to sell and wardrobe in three sizes….

  31. posted by RT on

    I’ve found that straight (non-contoured) hangers are best for shirts, tops, dresses, anything except suit jackets that have more material in the shoulders. And they take less closet space.

    arm thickness is also not important except with suit jackets or padded jackets.

    but width! as in wingspan, that is the most critical for any shirt L or larger. Avoid the shoulder lumps – there are many available if you search for wide clothes hangers or XL hangers, etc.

  32. posted by JPP on

    My husband and I have just finished building a new home and are sharing a large walk in closet with no doors (his design, not mine!)The installation of the closet rods and shelves were just completed, and with anticipation of moving my wardrobe into its new home, I spent $115 to purchase 96 Huggable Hangers, along with skirt clips, 3 tie/belt hangers, and several other accessories! A friend of mine shared this wisdom with me and I am so glad she did! MY side of the closet (with only Huggable Hangers) looks beaufiful…much like a classy boutique! My husbands side, is still being converted to Huggable hangers and it looks like a total mess with all the different wire and wood hangers! Hint: pick a color of hanger (many to choose from) and hook (chrome or brass)and keep everything the same for a uniform look! I, for once in my 49 year old life, can say I love my closet and by organizing my clothes by season and color will make packing a suitcase a breeze! Spend a $100 on yourself…you won’t regret it!!

  33. posted by RT on

    huggable hangers are still not wide enough for L, XL, XXL+
    and they are flimsy. you’d be better off doing a search for wide hangers, XL hangers, or XXL hangers.

  34. posted by RBC on

    Does anyone know of a resource for petite-sized hangers? I am “small shouldered”, I guess. I use wooden hangers for my work shirts (button-down cotton). My shirts all have bumps about 1″ down on the arm from the shoulder seam because that’s where the hanger ends. I would like to find hangers that actually fit my clothes, but I can’t seem to find anything except hangers for larger clothes. (BTW, I am a woman. 🙂

  35. posted by John Weise on

    Let’s not forget satin padded hangers for the delicate clothing in our closets. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obi.....tterer-20/

  36. posted by Barbara K. on

    I tried taking some excess wire hangers to my local dry cleaner, but she didn’t want them because they were “old”.

  37. posted by Kenneth in Virginia on

    Anyone remember the coat hanger (wire, of course) drives in the early 1950s?

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